10 Ways Brand Partnerships Can Promote Sustainability In The Post-COVID Sports Industry

10 Ways Brand Partnerships Can Promote Sustainability In The Post-COVID Sports Industry
June 17, 2020
Posted by:
Garrett Wong

By Kirk Wakefield

In the new fanscape, brands have a huge opportunity to make a difference through sports partnerships. Attending sporting events may never be the same, but some things may be better in the After Covid-19 (AC19) era. Consumers are alert, following the news, engaged with the world, and perhaps as much as anything else, waiting for the return of sports. Working with Kristen Fulmer at Recipric, we offer ten ways brands can partner with teams as leaders in corporate responsibility in the whole wide world of sports. Below each of the ten ways is an example and a link to an article to learn more. In other words, the link below each one is not an ad.

#1 Gameday Commute

Incentivize fans to rent a bicycle, scooter, or to walk to the game when possible. Leverage existing municipal transportation with a gameday incentive program. Teams can identify partners for ‘park & ride’ options to reduce on-site traffic congestion.



Lyft Becomes Exclusive Rideshare, Bike and Scooter Partner Across Prominent AEG Music Venues and Festivals

#2 Entry Screening

Identify a vendor for an efficient one-stop screening technology that also reduces waste. Avoid screening options that spit out single-use packaging and cleansing wipes that create unnecessary waste streams. Engage a corporate partner to underwrite and co-brand with the team.


Janus offers a temperature self-check kiosk.

Janus Temperature Self-Check Kiosk | Truyo

#3 Personal Protection Equipment

Not all PPE is created equal. Disposable gloves and masks generate unnecessary waste. Instead, find a partner to provide healthy, sustainably sourced branded masks. Consider opportunities for fans and gameday staff.


Bonus for partnering with suppliers that give back, like Parachute.


#4 Food and Beverage Sales

Leverage the trend towards cashless, contactless, frictionless transactions. Partner with suppliers that offer a variety of solutions, including options to select the amount of packaging, napkins, utensils, and condiments. The best apps can also partner with sustainable food options and can promote reusable packaging options.


Bypass Mobile/FiServ transforms customer experiences.

Sports & Entertainment Venues | Bypass

#5 Merchandise

Many vendors have already identified new products to offer in the fan store that help fans combat viruses while promoting the team. Target suppliers that source healthy materials, reduce packaging, and are built to last.The shift to a more home-based virtual world creates an opportunity to provide new team-branded products. including reusable food containers, workout equipment, water bottles, gardening tools, and work-from home accessories. Co-brand these with corporate partners.


NBA gear from upcycled jerseys.

NBA x Looptworks: Jerseys Upcycled

#6 Cleaning & Sanitation

The knee jerk reaction to combat the virus is to clean often and to clean with strong, harsh chemicals. Though COVID-19 does highlight the need for robust cleaning practices, many cleaning options do not contain toxic chemicals that harm the environment or, importantly, essential sanitation staff. Identify a ‘green cleaning’ partner to support your new cleaning policy and validate the safety standards. Better, have them move-in with you.


Jani-King and the Texas Rangers.

Jani-King of Fort Worth Regional Office Moving To Globe Life Park - Home to the Texas Rangers - Jani-King

#7 Waste Diversion

The hiatus in live events is an opportunity to revamp waste diversion practices at the venue. If you’ve been re-thinking logistics and adding new features and signage with new partners, this may be the best time window. Identify a partner to implement a food waste diversion program - even just back of house - or partner with an existing vendor to improve waste signage to promote better waste diversion.


Waste Management & the Phoenix Open.

Green Sports Day: Waste Management Phoenix Open

#8 Facility Infrastructure

The break in the action can provide a reset to improve the efficiency of the stadium to save money and reallocate budget. Locate partners to install renewable energy sources that generate immediate payback. Collaborate with technologies to upgrade the efficiency of fixtures. Identify sponsors to provide validation of healthy building strategies (e.g., air quality sensors).


The Eagles All-In Green.

Philadelphia Eagles Go Green with Renewable Energy

#9 Fan Education

Select partners to communicate healthy, sustainable practices with fans. Even before fans physically return, they want to hear from the team. Now is the perfect opportunity to help them identify solutions to improve the environment at home and in the community. Work with existing sponsors to send fans branded sustainable merchandise at home and incentivize a sustainable return to the venue.


The Mariners string of American League Recycling Championships

Seattle Mariners announce new sustainability efforts at T-Mobile Park ahead of Earth Day

#10 Player Engagement

Fans follow favorite athletes on social media, listen to post-game interviews, and follow fashion-leads by players. Sponsoring athletes showcases corporate responsibility goals while leveraging the athlete’s personal passions and values.

Example: Brent Suter and the Brewers

A twit from Brent Suter